25 Secrets To A Salon-Quality Manicure at Home

There are few ways to feel as instantly put-together and confident than having a fresh, perfect manicure. There are also as few ways to overpay for something or go over our beauty budgets than heading to the salon for a professional one. While we all need a little “me time,” we don’t think it should have to cost us a ton to get it, do you? Didn’t think so. Luckily, with all the tutorials and ideas out there for the finding, it’s easier than ever to learn how to get salon-worth nails without stepping out our front doors. Here are some of our favorite ideas for DIY manicures, no traveling or awkward small talk required.

  1. Get perfect cuticles.

    A great manicure starts with great, healthy nails and cuticles, so make sure you’re treating them correctly. Don’t rip or cut those cuticles, even if that’s what they used to do at the salon! Instead, follow this gentle five-step process that feels totally indulgent and uses creams and gels instead of scissors.

  2. Paint your dominant hand.

    One of the biggest arguments for getting a professional to do your nails is that painting your dominant hand with your non-dominant one is too tricky. Not anymore! With the right technique and clean up trick, BOTH of your hands can be flawless at home.

  3. Revive your favorite polish.

    Has your favorite polish turned thick and unusable? Don’t throw it out or give up and go to the salon! Bring it back to life with this easy process using hot water and nail polish thinner.

  4. Get at-home gels.

    We all love gel polish for how long-lasting it is, but we don’t like the cost of a salon gel manicure. Doing it at home is actually much easier AND more cost efficient; just grab some polish and a UV nail light from the store, and watch how it’s done.

  5. Make a DIY dotting tool.

    So many of our favorite nail art designs involve super-thin lines, details and dots, and the only way to get them right is with a dotting tool. Instead of stressing about buying the perfect one or heading to the salon, save money and make your own out of a straight pin and a pencil!

  6. Make nail art without special tools.

    You can also get nail art without any specialized tools at all! Use a makeup sponge to create a lovely gradient color, or a toothbrush to for a paint splatter look.

  7. Turn household items into nail art.

    Not only can you use stuff from around the home to sub in for expensive specialty nail tools, you can also take inspiration from common household items for uncommon nail looks. Five examples: tissue paper speckles, bobby pin rainbow dots, newspaper print art, foil sparkles, and cotton swab spackle.

  8. Use Scotch tape to make lightning bolts.

    Another item you already have that you can use for nail polish purposes? Tape! Use basic clear tape to help you make clean lines, like with this lightning bolt design . . .

  9. Use hoop tape to make a glass design.

    . . . or use the colored tape designed for hula hoops to create a gorgeous glass effect.

  10. Make a French manicure easier.

    Nothing looks as polished and professional as a classic French manicure. Get one at home the easy way with only white polish, clear coat, and polish remover.

  11. Update a French tip.

    If you’ve mastered the French tip and want to play around with it, try updating it with five new and exciting design ideas: a bowtie, a double stripe, an ombré effect, dots and an upside-down triangle.

  12. Make a matte look.

    If you want a nail look that’s unusual and fun, try a matte finish! It’s easy to get one— just boil some water and use the steam.

  13. Make a melted monochrome look.

    Want more nail art designs you can do at home? Try this “melted monochrome” look made with a toothpick and your two favorite colors . . .

  14. ”Drip” polish for a colorful paint look.

    . . . this “dripping paint” look you can make with your homemade dotting tool . . .

  15. Spatter on some polish.

    . . . or this spattered look made by thinning out some of your favorite bright polish colors, then “throwing” it at white nails.

  16. Make your own nail art stickers.

    Wraps and stickers are steadily gaining popularity as a way for beginning nail artists to get gorgeous designs. Skip spending your cash on those new products and make your own DIY stickers out of sandwich bags and the nail polish you already own!

  17. Quicky-dry your nails with ice water.

    Do you miss having those drying fans when you skip the salon and do your nails at home? You won’t after you try this trick! Let them air dry for two minutes, then dunk them in ice water for three more. It sounds crazy, but your manicure will be dry and perfect!

  18. Turn chips into art.

    Nail polish chip only hours after a fresh manicure? Don’t despair! You can repaint the tips, disguise the chip with a different color and alternative French tip, or cover it all up with a glitter gradient.

  19. Make a removal bottle.

    After getting a gorgeous look, the next most important thing is taking that polish off. Make it easier by making a DIY removal bottle that makes taking off that polish easy and mess-free.

  20. Take off polish with no fuss and no mess.

    Another easy way to get that polish off? Rip up some cotton balls, soak them in remover, and stick them on your nails. Wait two minutes, and the polish will slide right off without having to violently rub or scrape.

  21. Take off dark polish.

    Darker nail colors look chic, but the mess taking it off leaves behind looks anything but. Soak them in a bowl of remover first, then swipe with a cotton pad to take it all off without staining your fingers or leaving a mess behind.

  22. Remove dark polish stains.

    If that crazy color remains even after you carefully remove it, your nails might just be stained! Remove them with an easy at-home treatment with baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and water.

  23. Fix yellowed nails.

    We all know that a good base coat helps prevent staining, but what do we do when our nails yellow despite our best efforts? Soak them in lemon juice for 10 to 15 minutes – every day for as many days as you want – for clean, healthy nails again.

  24. Remove glitter nail polish.

    Glitter polish is great for Friday nights out with the girls, but not so much for that Monday morning meeting with the boss. Remove it without hurting your nails by soaking cotton balls in remover, then wrapped them around your fingertips with tin foil. Leave it all on for at least five minutes, and voila! Polish gone.

  25. Remove gel polish.

    Use a similar method to remove that long-lasting gel polish, too, and skip a trip to the salon when you watch to switch out the color yourself. All you need are some cotton balls, aluminum foil, a nail groomer and acetone.

Who needs a salon when we can do everything we want and need at home?! Do you know of any other tips and tricks worthy of being on this list? For even more, check out this list from Diply, and be sure to check out some of our favorite past posts for even more nail care ideas and hacks: